Leon Reid IV, “Pedestrian Shuffle,” steel pole, aluminum signs, enamel, 10 ft x 9 ft x 1.5 inches, 2011.
The usual museum experience asks the viewer to enter an enclosed space and immerse himself or herself in an artist’s world. Peekskill Project V turns the tables and brings the art into the viewer’s world. “I think museum settings, as much as they’re often geared toward education, tend to be somewhat insular,” says Kerry Cox, associate project coordinator of “Peekskill Project V.” “When you bring art out into the community, it facilitates a culture of care, and that’s our goal. To bring different populations together and foster a sense of community through these creative actions.”
An incredibly diverse group of more than 75 contemporary artists are taking part in this year’s celebration, and visitors to “Peekskill Project V” will be treated to a wide range of styles, from painting and sculpture to video, film, and sound, to performance art. “The theme is the landscape of the Hudson Valley,” says Adler. “Not only the natural landscape, but really the postindustrial urban landscape. Peekskill’s pretty unique because it has urban, rural, and suburban all in one.”
Peekskill Project V is an ambitious experiment in contemporary art. Produced by the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art (HVCCA), it aims to stimulate Peekskill with site-specific, relevant, and provocative exhibitions in venues across the city. However, unlike with past Peekskill Projects, this year’s event encompasses more than a single weekend. “This year we have decided to expand it into a year’s worth of programming,” says Lead Coordinator Anna Adler.
To help organize the yearlong festival, HVCCA has divided the work along seasonal lines, starting with fall, moving into winter, and ending with spring/summer. Each of these seasonal installments are then being broken down into areas of focus, with fall being more object based (photography, sculpture, painting), winter focusing on video and film, and spring/summer highlighting live performances. However, these areas of focus are not meant to be absolute, and many different styles of art will be represented year-round.
Some highlights of “Peekskill Project V” include a new Greg Haberny installation in the center of HVCCA’s main gallery space built around an airplane fuselage, a 10-foot-high steel ring sculpture from Basha Ruth Nelson that will be installed at the riverfront, a found object sculpture from Pakistani artist Huma Bhabha, a new mural from Brooklyn Graffiti artist Skewville, a mobile performative vehicle engaging with the community in downtown Peekskill by Australian artist Astra Howard, and a new installation from HVCCA artist-in-residence Daniel Phillips in an empty industrial space by the riverfront.
“Peekskill Project V” kicks off on September 29 and 30. From 1pm to 7pm each day, exhibit openings will feature many of the artists themselves, who will be available to discuss their work. A dinner, live music, and other events round out the weekend. Thereafter, the second Sunday of each month from October 2012 to July 2013 will see new programming and events added to the Project. While much of the work will be featured at HVCC’s 1701 Main Street location, other venues include downtown Peekskill, the Peekskill waterfront, the Paramount Center for the Arts, local businesses, storefronts, vacant lots, and old industrial spaces. All of the events on opening weekend will be free, and HVCCA will endeavor to keep the entire festival free of charge as much as possible, though some venues may require a modest fee. “We’re really focused on bringing the museum out into the community,” says Adler.
“Peekskill Project V” is online at Hvcca.org/peekskill-project-5.html